In a loss for gun rights, the US Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to a New Jersey law that makes it easy for the state to turn down concealed weapon applications.
In Drake v. Jerejian, a number of New Jersey residents and gun rights groups had challenged a state law that requires a person to demonstrate an “urgent necessity” for carrying guns for “self-protection” in order to get a concealed permit. Many residents are denied permits.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia had upheld the law, and a coalition of 19 states, along with the NRA, had urged the Supreme Court to take the case.
The justices, though, declined to take it and did not comment, as is standard.
The case could have dire implications for gun rights down the road.
“It remains unsettled whether the individual right to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense extends beyond the home,” the Third Circuit had ruled.
NJ: Second Amendment Guarantees Nothing
New Jersey had said in a court brief that the “simple desire to exercise the Second Amendment right to armed self-defense does not suffice” to obtain a concealed carry permit.
Other federal courts of appeal and the supreme courts of a number of states have ruled that the Second Amendment does give Americans a right to carry handguns outside their homes, attorney Alan Gura told The Christian Science Monitor. Gura represented the plaintiffs in Drake v. Jerejian.
Only around 600 residents each year receive permits to carry a gun. Gun rights supporters say it is hard for residents to comply with the law’s requirements.
The NRA had argued in a legal brief, “The Second Amendment guarantees the right to carry weapons for the purpose of self-defense — not just for self-defense within the home, but for self-defense, period.”
Specifically, the law states a person must demonstrate “the urgent necessity for self-protection,” as evidenced by “specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun.”
One of the plaintiffs in the case is John Drake, who restocks ATM machines for a living. That requires Drake to carry large amounts of cash — yet state bureaucrats ruled that he did not have a “demonstrable need” for a gun permit.
Judge: ‘No Right to Carry’
When a lower court judge dismissed Drake v. Jerejian, he stated that the Second Amendment does not give Americans the right to carry guns outside their homes. It was that dismissal that the Third Circuit Court upheld and the Supreme Court refused to review.
The Third Circuit covers the states of Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the United States Virgin Islands.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead had warned that the New Jersey law, if allowed to stand, could have an impact elsewhere.
“If the current decision stands, states providing greater protections than New Jersey under the Second Amendment may be pre-empted by future federal action,” he said. “… This decision out of New Jersey impacts the right to keep and bear arms outside the home.”
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